backup og meta
Health Screening
Ask Doctor

10 Signs of Overthinking to Lookout For!

Medically reviewed by Kristina Campos, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Jun 15, 2022

10 Signs of Overthinking to Lookout For!

Whether it’s a small mistake or fretting about how things are not going your way, an over-thinking can have you feeling distressed. Do you feel you struggle with sleeplessness and anxiety? Are you always reading between the lines whenever you are told anything? Do you always find yourself brooding about your past or constantly worried about your future? Well, all this sounds like you are an overthinker! These are the signs of overthinking.

It may be difficult to control distressing thoughts, but these will only ruin your mental peace in the long run. Your body releases a high amount of cortisol when your mind is continuously in a state of flux and anxiety mode. This increased surge of cortisol impacts your health in negative ways. Read to know the signs of overthinking and ways to tackle them.

Who Are Overthinkers?

Overthinkers are often those who over-analyze the smallest of situations and find it impossible to keep calm. Each one of us overthinks once in a while, but some people cannot reduce or manage their disruptive thoughts.

The mind of such people is continuously thinking in two destructive patterns – brooding and worrying.

Brooding involves ruminating about the past, which includes thoughts like – ‘I should not have done that today’, ‘I should not have spoken up against my senior today’, ‘My parents were right’ or ‘I should have not taken this field of the job’.

On the other hand, Worrying involves getting anxious about what will happen in the future and what you would do in every possible scenario. 

10 Signs of Overthinking

While this attitude does not develop overnight, there are a few tell-tale signs which help detect whether you are falling into the overthinking category. You need to first be aware and accept that you are an overthinker. Most overthinkers think overthinking will help prevent bad incidents from occurring. But little do they know that overthinking only leads to encountering more problems. 

Here are 10 signs of overthinking that clearly prove you are an overthinker:

  1. Reliving embarrassing moments in your head constantly.
  2. You keep questioning yourself and ask yourself “What if?” always.
  3. You spend a lot of time thinking about any other meanings in whatever people say. 
  4. Have trouble sleeping since you feel your brain never shuts off.
  5. You replay all conversations in your head and think about all the things you wish you had or hadn’t said. 
  6. You constantly rethink your mistakes.
  7. Replaying things said and done by others, which you didn’t like.
  8. You cannot get over things said or done by people in the past. You dwell in the past and worry about your future. 
  9. You can’t seem to get your mind off from worries.
  10. Spending a lot of time worrying about things you have no control on. 

Effects Of Overthinking On Health

Disrupts Mental Health

This is like stating the obvious but overthinking and stress are definitely going to affect your mental health and brain.

Stress tends to affect the brain in many ways . The excess cortisol that is released damages and kills cells in the brain. Constant overthinking can also alter your brain functions and change its connectivity and structure. Chronic stress is also known to cause mood and anxiety disorders. 

Affects Digestive System

Overthinking leads to stress which eventually results in gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, increase in intestinal permeability, changes in gastrointestinal motility and gastric secretions, etc. 

Heart at Risk

Worrying and overthinking every single time will also put your tender heart at risk. Chest pains, light-headedness, breathing difficulty, tachycardia, feeling suffocated, etc. are some of the problems that you will face if you overthink constantly. 

Skin Affections

Chronic anxiety, stress and overthinking definitely affects the skin. Emotional stress can lead to various skin disorders like psoriasis, alopecia, seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, pruritus, etc.

Most dermatological conditions are usually psychosomatic in nature that tend to develop over time due to mental stress. Stress causes inflammatory changes in your body which flare-up on the skin and results in skin disorders.

Suppresses the Immune System

You tend to fall sick every time you are stressed or anxious. This is due to the release of cortisol in your body brought on by stress leading to a weak immune system. When your body’s immunity is down and suppressed, it becomes more prone and vulnerable to infections. 

Increases Risk of Cancer

Overthinking often leads to stress and the continuous release of cortisol. This, in turn, impairs your immune response and makes you prone to develop certain cancers

How Can You Tackle Your Overthinking Problem?

Putting an end to the constant second-guessing and replaying is easier said than done. But the key is to look out for signs of overthinking and identify the problem. Once you accept that you are an overthinker, all you need to do is consciously make an effort to not overthink.

Here are three ways to limit your negative thinking patterns and stop overthinking every time. 

1. Be Conscious About Your Overthinking State

Awareness is the first step to stop your overthinking habit. Be more conscious about the way you think. Some signs of overthinking include replaying all events in your mind over and over again or worrying about things that are out of your control. Acknowledge and tell yourself, these thoughts aren’t productive and will do more harm than good for you.

2. Change Your Thoughts

Whenever you feel you are swaying in the direction of overthinking, stop. Take a deep breath, and reanalyze your current negative thoughts. Learn to recognize the ones which may be exaggeratedly negative and replace them with actual and sensible thoughts. This will help you get out of the cycle before turning into a complete frenzy. 

4. Focus On Problem-Solving

If you’ve noticed any signs of overthinking, address the problem calmly and then search for a solution. Merely dwelling on your problems isn’t going to help in any way. Ask yourself what needs to be done in order to solve the problem and avoid this mistake from occurring again. Instead of asking yourself why me or why did this happen? Ask what can be done now?


Keeping yourself active and busy is the best way to avoid the signs of overthinking. Engage in healthy conversations on different subjects or start a new hobby or exercise, choose what suits you the best, and get on with it. This will help distract your mind from the burden of negative thoughts.

Learn more bout a Healthy Mind here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Kristina Campos, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Jun 15, 2022

ad iconadvertisement

Was this article helpful?

ad iconadvertisement
ad iconadvertisement